it's amazing how open things seem when you are not making mistakes; when you do not let your quarterback get hit all day long; when you don't fumble away a possession on the first drive; and when your defense doesn't allow the opposition to score on a first drive of the game.
This was like a concert. Special teams returns the opening kickoff to the 49. You can sure be a lot more aggressive offensively at midfield at home, than starting off at the 20 at McAfee Coliseum. You can be a lot more aggressive when your first four possessions start off at your own 49-yard line or beyond. And you can be a lot more aggressive - even going for it three times on fourth down, including from the Eagles one and Eagles 12 - when your defense is only giving up 110 yards passing and 19 yards rushing.
Did I say 19 yards rushing? And what if I told you the Eagles, those guys averaging 356.5 yards passing a game, averaged but 3.2 yards per pass attempt, and that Terrell Owens did not dump on the star nor do any stroll in either end zone to mock the Cowboys?
So while Glenn might have said, "I thought we needed to go out there and hit them in the mouth," meaning rely on Bledsoe's arm and those old, creaky knees of Glenn and Keyshawn Johnson, and of course offense always attracts attention, the most startling occurrence here was the defense.
Who out there didn't think the Cowboys would have to outscore the Eagles to have a snowball's chance in hell of beating them? Come on, only three times over the past 10 excruciating games did the Cowboys hold the Eagles to fewer than 27 points.
But if not for that fumble caught in midair by Sheldon Brown, and returned 80 yards for a touchdown, and if not for another one of those McNabb Houdini-escape acts to find Owens for 18 yards leading to a field goal, this might have been a shutout - against a team that has averaged 32.2 points a game over the past 10 against the Cowboys.
No wonder defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer walked off the field with a smile on his face. Because if that's the way this Cowboys defense is capable of playing, this team might be going somewhere this season.
What happened? Couple of things.
First, when the Eagles went three wide receivers, this time the Cowboys weren't insistent on playing their 3-4 defense, and trying to reroute the slot guy with an outside linebacker and turn him over to a safety. They went to nickel, and right from the start.
Secondly, since they were playing so much nickel, that meant the Cowboys were playing more four-man fronts, and even started Marcus Spears for the first time in place of Kenyon Coleman, who not only didn't start, but didn't even dress.
Next, the Cowboys lapsed into more four-man fronts on their base defense, just putting DeMarcus Ware's hand on the ground.
And, with better corners and a better nickel back, the Cowboys decided to be more proactive on defense, blitzing Roy Williams, blitzing Keith Davis, blitzing linebackers and lining up Terence Newman inside the defense end and blitzing him, too, which resulted in one of four sacks of McNabb.
See, the key to this game was controlling McNabb, making sure they made life uncomfortable for the bionic guy, who was nursing many a bruised part. And really, with the exception of that one scramble and throw, they didn't let him have the peace of mind all day long - completing 13 of 26 passes for a mere 131 yards, with a long of only 23 and a QB rating of 64.7.
Yep, no peace.
And Westbrook? Did he even play? Had 36 total yards.
Oh, and what about Jevon Kearse? And sorry for wandering here. Had one assisted tackle. And special teams? Nothing.
"They played a great game," Philly linebacker Jeremiah Trotter said. "We got beat in every phase of the game. Offense, defense and special teams."
Well, then it must be as good as it's been since . . . depending on whose perspective you use, which leaves us all with one prevailing thought leaving Texas Stadium on Sunday night:
Are they teasing us again or . . .
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